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by MARKIN Sunday, Mar. 04, 2007 at 7:11 PM



Readers of this space know that this writer centers his commentary on ‘high’ politics, usually lambasting the bourgeois politicians, especially Democratic Party politicians for being eunuchs or worst on the war in Iraq and other pressing social questions. And I am entirely comfortable with that, after all we are all adults in this game and it comes with the territory. While I am waiting to comment on what promises to be another ugly Democratic somersault on the upcoming war budget fight however another little issue has crossed my path. Believe me I enter this dispute with more fear and trepidation that I have ever had in my ‘adult’ battles for it involves the mysterious ways of teenagers. I had enough trouble trying to survive my own teenage years to be wary, very wary, of the trials and tribulations of teens a couple of generations behind me. But here goes.

I have recently read about the case of a Mormon girl out in Santa Rosa, California, Rebeka Rice, whose parents have taken school officials there to court over a reprimand and notation in her record that she received as a freshman in high school a few years ago. The gist of the case is that at that time some fellow students, as is the nature of such things, razzed her about her Mormonism by asking whether she had ‘ten mothers’. In response, Rebeka stated that their comment was ‘so gay’, meaning to her stupid. And she was right, it was stupid. However, in the interest of ‘political correctness’ local school officials, assumingly well trained in how to ferret out real gay-bashing hate speech , and apparently with plenty of time on their hands decided to take a forthright stand for gay liberation over the statement and took the above mentioned action. As is the nature of the times the parents thereafter filed suit. And they were right to do so, as well.

Hello, school officials. Apparently someone has been living in a bubble. Haven’t these august school officials been out to the malls in Santa Rosa lately? As least here I have. And assisted by a foreign language translator, a necessity in such situations, I found out that indeed common usage and understanding by teens is on Rebeka’s side. If one wants to use hate speech toward gays and lesbians there are other more robust forms of expression that I will not bother to repeat here. Moreover, in the present case the school’s hypocrisy trumps its supposed virtue. The local school officials passed on taking action on the really hateful expression in the exchange-the other students’ taut about Rebeka’s religion which is clear and unmistakable. In my teenage days, back in the days when the world was ‘young and gay’, that kind of statement would have been the equivalent of ‘your mama’ or ‘your mother’ and would have been fighting words, with fists flying. But, dear readers, we live in a kinder, gentler more civilized age with the requisite peer counseling, arbitration and, of course, the ubiquitous liberal ‘thought’ police to smooth things over.

Okay, okay. Yes, we live in an age of victim hood. And damn there is more discrimination against gays, lesbians, transsexuals, women, the aged, blacks, Hispanics, the mentally challenged, immigrants, teenagers and X oppressed groups that we can shake a stick at. But, something is desperately wrong when the everyday language of teens (or any other sub-culture) is subject to official governmental inspection and sanction allegedly in the interest of making bourgeois society ‘nice’. Where did we go off the rails on this part of the ‘culture’ wars? Well, one place to look is the 1960’s. I have written elsewhere about the fun, even for teenagers, of being alive at that time and imbibing in the whirlwind of the changing cultural currents. But, my friends, we were politically, socially and, in the case of some groups like the Black Panthers and Weather people, militarily defeated by the forces of reaction in this country. A response by some of my generation was either to deny that reality and drop out of the political struggle or turn into ‘cultural guerillas’ and head for the jungles, oops I mean, universities and try to create some kind of politically and morally correct ‘small’ universe there. That is at least part of the genesis of this ‘correctness’ mania.

Unfortunately, moral gestures will not change this sad old world but only by changing the material base of society so that NO ONE has a vested interest in hating anyone. But that requires political struggle against the current forces that want to keep each oppressed group separated in a divide and conquer strategy that works so well for them. If you want to really fight against gay discrimination (and all the other discriminations) then you had better be prepared to do a lot more than play ‘cop’, even if for ‘do-gooder’ motives. In any case, I hope even in a communist future where no one will have a vested interest in ‘razzing’ anyone that the teens of the future will still have their own ‘tribal’ language as they try to figure out there place in the world. In the meantime-VICTORY TO REBEKA RICE!


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